This was one, legit camping trip!! The fact that I don’t normally have all the time in the world to just spend a few days doing nothing but landscape photography, meant that I was totally unprepared for it. But still, I wanted to make the most of it! Sorry if it’s a little random, but here’s what I learned along the way and behind the scenes on that crazy photography excursion to Castle Crags Wilderness Area in California.

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This past summer, I had the opportunity to spend a few days out in California’s beautiful Mount Shasta region. During my trip, I spent some time hiking, camping and taking lots of amazing landscape photos. It was a neat opportunity to enjoy time with our great Creator surrounded by His beautiful creation. It was also a good time to continue to practice my photography skills and learn how to take better photos. In this article, I want to share with you some of the things I learned on this memorable camping trip.

I hiked up on Saturday and spent Sunday resting, scouting and reading the Bible. On Monday morning, I was able to rise early enough so that I could hike up a little ways to capture the sunrise near Mount Shasta. I found the foreground there to be scattered and clean, and I also found some nice foreground shapes to work with while shooting the Castle Crags.

As sunrise came and went, I ran into a few obstacles. There were no clouds which rendered the sky blank and colorless for the most part, and due to the light being somewhat hazy and not as golden as I had hoped, I did not get the shots of the crags that I would have liked to.

After spending the rest of the day working on business-related projects, I hiked out to Heart Lake in hopes of capturing some nice sunset reflections of Mt. Shasta. I scouted around a little and was able to find a nice spot to shoot from. With shots that didn’t offer much of a foreground, I opted to frame shots in a way that would capture the wide vastness of the surrounding area. This doesn’t mean that I didn’t pull out the zoom lens for a few shots to spot distant compositions as well. Fortunately, there were a few clouds in the sky before the sunset.

On the last full day of my excursion, I hiked to a new spot to once again shoot the crags and Mt. Shasta. Again, it was a difficult morning. The highest ridge I could get to was not high enough, and the treeline interfered with a clear shot of the crags. It also didn’t offer much of a different view of the valley and Mt. Shasta than anywhere else I had been in the area, so it turned out to not be as great a location as I had originally thought. Instead of throwing in the towel, I decided to work with what I had and framed up some compositions before the sun came up. There were some nice layers of mountains to work with, and switching to wide angle after the sun up I focused on the golden light on the landscape.

As the sun rose, I found the light wasn’t much different than the day before. I suppose most sunrises are the same in sunny California. But it was nice that there seemed to be less haze for some reason.

Too quickly, my trip came to a close. I really enjoy the opportunities such trips bring to a photographer, but I still feel I have only scratched the surface. As I learn and grow, I’ll continue to share my experiences in hope that you too will be able to learn and grow in some way as well. Looking forward to the next excursion whenever that might be!

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